All posts tagged: Dismaland

Evan Pricco and Banksy : 15 for 2015

Evan Pricco and Banksy : 15 for 2015


What are you celebrating this season? We’re celebrating BSA readers and fans with a holiday assorted chocolate box of 15 of the smartest and tastiest people we know. Each day until the new year we ask a guest to take a moment to reflect on 2015 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and saying ‘thank you’ for inspiring us throughout the year.

Evan Pricco is the Editor-In-Chief and Web Editor of the leading international contemporary art magazine Juxtapoz, based in San Francisco. Now shooting straight out of Sausalito, Evan found that part of his job this year entailed traveling to Street Art festivals and art fairs, doing studio visits, interviewing people like Banksy and Takashi Murakami, and being a desk clerk at a Times Square newsstand that sold limited edition prints and books by artists – and of course inviting graffiti writers to tag it – while police chased after painted ladies and groping Cookie Monsters.

Weston-super-Mare, UK
October, 2015
Artist: Banksy
Photograph by Evan Pricco

It’s sort of an obvious pick, but I knew the moment I walked up on this installation/game/project at Dismaland that Banksy had really created something significant. It’s fitting of the world we live in right now, and months later, the way that many Americans and Grand Old Party have positioned themselves in regards to the refugee crisis.

And so you have these boats that float around a pool where you can drive them around for a few pence, with absolutely no goal in mind or place to land. All just an inevitable shit storm.

~ Evan Pricco


Read more
BSA Film Friday: 11.06.15

BSA Film Friday: 11.06.15




Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :

1. Your Tour Through Dismaland with Butterfly and Lars Pederson
2. “The Wave”, Shepard Fairey in Jersey City
3. DIAN and his Bullshit Elephant in Brooklyn



BSA Special Feature: Butterfly & Lars Pederson Give a Tour of Dismaland

It’s 30 minutes of sheer edutainment as the blogger/writer/documentarian named Butterfly gives a tour to the urban art curator Lars Pederson through Banksy’s Dismaland in cooperation with ARTE Creative TV.


The views are sadly hilarious, pure sarcasm and commentary on issues and behaviors.  If Street Art is meant sometimes to hold a mirror to us as we pass by, this is a genuine funhouse of mirrors at every turn. Of course, this isn’t Street Art – its site-specific contemporary art – and many of the artists are street artists, but not all. Butterfly and Pederson discuss the installations as they encounter them and the viewer feels at though they have gotten a true sense of the wonderful world of Dismal.


We asked Butterfly about the video and her impressions with it and she tells us that the whole Dismaland has been overwhelming for her on many levels. “From the excitement of seeing new artworks by Banksy, to discovering new artists, to confronting depressing moral issues, to having fun – for me it’s his most ambitious project to date in scale and objectives and he nailed it like no other artist.”


“Banksy’s curating role is fantastic as everything fits together as a whole, and it also highlights that consciousness on consumerism, the environment, politics is happening internationally and that everybody needs to take action,” she says.


You’ll recall that Butterfly shared her images with BSA readers in August when the show opened and gave us her review at that time, but now in retrospect, does the show hold up? “Yes,” she says, “We’ve seen previously some politically engaged artists focusing on the environment, politics etcetera, but when it is all gathered together in Dismaland the impact is “Boom!”. The messages sadly need to be reiterated because we are inundated by information / disinformation and we tend to become oblivious.


The most impactful of the installations for her was the one depicting immigrants attempting to escape to a better part of the world and the tragedies of families broken apart, some killed in the process. “It was very moving and disturbing to see the “Mediterranean Ride’ installation,” she says, “the migrant boats with floating corpses in the sea where the public could navigate the boats, but the boats never reached the shore.”


Butterfly summarizes the event like this, “Being able to make contemporary art accessible to everyone in a family-friendly setting, with an interactive element where the audience is an integrated part into the show, where guests are entertained and at the same time everybody’s conscience is awakened on our society issues – it’s unprecedented.”



The Wave: Shepard Fairey in Jersey City

An unusual mural just completed by Shepard Fairey and team at the request of the mayor of Jersey City, this single image is intended to reflect the way of cultural change taking place in this city across the bay from Gotham.  Can’t help but think of natural disasters though. Of course Japanese art history is referenced here, as well as surfing culture, so we shouldn’t interpret it as a harbinger of negative things automatically. Regardless, it is very effective and the placement is primo, no?


Brooklyn Bullshit Elephant in Brooklyn (Dian & Life is Porno street art animation)

“Dian is a street artist from European art label Life is Porno. In 2015, he decided to do a series of stop-frame stop frame animations around Europe and the world. This time he turned a building in Brooklyn, NYC into his animated reality. And grew an elephant from his mushrooms…

Whole animation was spray-painted, without any computer animation. The Bullshit sign was installed by a legendary fusion artist Shalom Neuman. “

Read more
Nuart Day 1: Isaac Cordal Installs His Preoccupied Little Businessmen

Nuart Day 1: Isaac Cordal Installs His Preoccupied Little Businessmen


Tor (@toris64) picked us up at the airport using his hand-made faux-Banksy Nuart sign, wearing his fresh Dismaland t-shirt, and we immediately knew we were home here in Stavanger. Born and raised in this town Tor knows it’s every turn and twist and because he travels extensively for his regular profession, he also gets to explore other cities and take photos of Street Art and share them on Instagram. Luckily there is a pretty notable festival right here and his enthusiasm grows with the opportunity to meet so many of his favorite artists each year.


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This small Norwegian town is again hosting a kick-ass mural/street art/graffiti festival again this year and its sort of rainy today but Icy & Sot are painting anyway, as are Ella & Pitr.  Ernest Zacharevic has arrived and Martin Whatson has finished his piece, as have Pejac and Dot Dot Dot. Harmen de Koop is devising a live performance with an economist giving a lecture on a wall Thursday (not kidding), Bordalo is gathering garbage and throwing it into the back of a truck for his trash installation, and Martha Cooper just arrived this morning and Tor took her to find a hidden conceptual piece in a doorway by Fra. Biancoshock that says “Martha Please Take a Picture of Me”.

Once settled in yesterday we immediately began tooling around town with Isaac Cordal, the Northern Spanish activist with a big heart in these small sculptures of desperate/guilty/soulless little corporate men who he positions in precarious locations wherever he travels. We carried a bag full of these fellows yesterday while he shouldered an expandable ladder and marched though the hilly streets looking upward, scanning battered Noregian industrial architecture for opportune ledges for his little men to teeter off the edge of.


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As we have featured his work numerous times over the years on BSA, it was finally great to meet Cordal and accompany him on his interventions – which sort of magically transform a mundane spot into a stage for his “figurativos” to contemplate their lives. Cordal says they are meant to symbolize many things – one of them being the corrupt wolves in business suits who are running much of the world today, and you immediately know of whom he speaks. Comedic in placement, dastardly in deed, you want them to fall, or jump, but somehow it is better that they are frozen in the midst of their drama, frozen with fright and fear.


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cordal also talks about the current romance that many public art fans are having with the mural as a means of public expression (which we can verify) and how he feels like his very small concrete (now resin) men can be just as powerful as a large mural. And in a way we can entirely agree – the placing of these figures transforms the space by engaging your imagination, and you KNOW where that can take you; the key unlocks a part of the viewer that he or she once accessed regularly as a child when wild stallions and robots and Jesus and pop stars and Darth Vader all seemed like plausible characters in the same play. Seeing Isaac and his enthusiasm will assure you that art in the streets can have a formidable impact on a passerby, no matter its diminutive scale.


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. 09-15 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

Read more
The Wonderfully Dismal Kingdom of Banksy

The Wonderfully Dismal Kingdom of Banksy

Banksy has ventured into the entertaining resort business. One that would possibly be your last resort.

A scathing social and political critique of any number of targets that routinely come under the purview of this artist/curator/commentator/showman, this big tent brings everyone inside for a beating. Rampant capitalism, civic hypocrisy, the war industry, advertising deceit, an encroaching police state, environmental destruction, the widening gap in social equality, xenophobia with its inherent racism, and our insatiable penchant for sunny denial are a partial list of woes addressed. If you don’t feel sickened or guilty after visiting Dismaland perhaps you could affect a certain smugness that says, “Finally, someone is talking about all of these important issues that I’ve been going on about.”


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Cheerfully cynical and sarcastic, this magic kingdom is most successful when you are challenged to reconsider a behavior or position – and with 50 or so invited co-exhibitionists, some whose bodies of work are substantial on their own, Banksy clearly intends to challenge you and indict you with a relentless barrage of over-the-top funhouse symbolism and metaphor. If, for example, you are enthralled by those American right-wing Christian Halloween “Hell House” installations that feature pregnant teen girls in stirrups and sallow-faced gay HIV-positive patients in hospital beds you’ll cherish the harrowing Banksy path to salvation. Alas, there may be no salvation, sorry.

Here you can see bright yellow bathtub ducks swimming in an oil spill, there you can play paparazzi with the other flashing bulbs recording Cinderalla’s overturned carriage crash. Next, get a load of the toy boats dangerously overloaded with refugees and the knife-wielding butcher eye-balling the horses he’s riding with on the merry-go-round. If Disneyland clobbers you with candy-covered bromides and implausibly rosy fantasy, Dismaland brings you to the edge of the abyss of man’s folly and gently nudges you to fall into it. Or jump.


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Particularly effective to the experience are the grim and listless personnel who mind the grounds and offer no clear or meaningful help. Not quite menacing, they could just be impersonating sullen teens. Perhaps they are buckling under the weight of low wages and dim opportunities on the horizon or are simply humiliated by the balloons some are made to carry that say, “I’m an Imbecil”.

On a particularly gray and dreary day periodically warmed with the sun, the photographer named Butterfly made her pilgrimage to this nightmare fairy tale by the seaside for the big opening and below she shares with BSA readers her images and observations on the pop-up exhibition to help us all feel a bit of the dreadful experience first-hand.


Banksy. Escif. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

~ By Butterfly

Weston-Super-Mare is a British seaside town, 30 minutes from Bristol, where families spend the day out donkey riding, visiting the Seaquarium or trying arcades at the Pier while kids build sandcastles on a muddy beach in miserable weather.

Rumors had been circulating for weeks about big installations being built in the former Tropicana, a derelict lido closed since 2000 which once hosted the biggest outdoor swimming pool in Europe. The rumblings and the build up to the announcement to the show was phenomenal, along with the conjecture: Is it a film set? Is it a show? Is it a fair? Is it art?


Banksy. Cinderella sufferd a crash. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Finally we know: This is Banksy’s biggest show to date: Dismaland. It is, according to promotional materials “is a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.”

Moving towards Contemporary Art, the show is billed as a ‘Bemusement Park’. The global scale, diversity of installations, artworks and participating artists is unprecedented with 50 contemporary artists from 17 countries aiming to exhibit contemporary art and raise discussion about consumerism, political and environmental issues and to spur people to take action.


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

1000 lucky local people were invited to experience Dismaland before its’ opening to the general public. Concurrently the online ticket sales failed miserably, with the website crashing all day and earning it the award of  ‘the most disappointing new website’.

We first enter the premises through a cardboard security control room built by Bill Barminksi where the security staff asks the most random questions. After the clearing security, doors open to a sinister derelict place with trash, paper on the floor and mud. It almost looks like a dump. The surrounding staff members are dressed in pink hi-vis (vests) and are looking bored, miserable and haggard.  Some are holding David Shrigley’s ‘I’m an Imbecile’ balloons. When asking questions, they respond by whispering messages that are beyond understanding. Customer service is below standard and not responsive at best.


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Surrounded by murky water with a dumped riot van that has been transformed into an impromptu water fountain, a decrepit fairy-tale castle ‘shows how it feels to be a real princess’. A sinister scene of a Cinderella pumpkin crash sculpture is lit up by the swarm of paparazzi, with flashing cameras taking photo after photo of the tragic crash scene, echoing Princess Diana’s death. You may also pose with it and have your souvenir photo of the experience.

The amusements are purposely confusing – as they don’t let you win. An ESPO sign reads

‘WINNING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED’. Arcade fans attempt miserably to score some of the bling necklaces by shooting spray cans, only to realize that they are screwed to the wall.


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Some local families were confused with Banksy’s Mediterranean Boat Ride, where the public can drive robotic boats of migrants amongst floating bodies. Kids tried to play on Paul Insect‘s overcrowded sandpit while others were desperately looking for disappearing golf balls on the impossible Mini Gulf course. Families enjoyed rides on the merry-go-round without noticing a butcher sitting next to a hanging horse draining blood with cardboard boxes marked Lasagnes (a nod to a horse food scandal in 2013).


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Alongside the rides, contemporary artworks are displayed throughout the site. There is also a large indoor space hosting 3 galleries with a selection of some of the best contemporary art. A circus tent features a freak show of strange animals from Polly Morgan and Dorcas Casey to a unicorn by Damien Hirst and a Banksy animatronic rabbit that makes the magician disappear.

The seaside and funfair themes have been given a certain twist as well: A statue of a woman being attacked by seagulls (Banksy), a giant ice cream cone (Ben Long), a wooden carved horse sculpture (Maskull Lasserre), a beach ball floating above razor sharp knives (Damien Hirst), a seaside painting showing a mother and child playing on the sand unaware of the tsunami of detritus coming toward them (Banksy).


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)

Environmental issues and relationships between human and nature are also highlighted with artworks from Paco Pomet and Josh Keyes. A Banksy killer whale sculpture is jumping out of a toilet peace. Other topics addressed are on war, geopolitics, and the Arab Spring. Artists from Palestine and Israel are displayed side by side. Within the Guerilla Island, the dome presents of series of activist banners from all over the world, including drawings from Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani.

A bus turned into a touring Museum of Cruel Objects curated by Dr. Gavin Grindon educates the public on surveying the role of design for social control, including CCTV. And you can sign up to one of the union stalls for action. Finally there is the mind-blowing model village installation by James Cauty called The Aftermath Dislocation Principle.

The evening turned into a big party with live music while a massive show of fireworks sealed the official opening. I found the experience to be overwhelming with so much artwork to discover and actions to be taken.


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Espo. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Paul Insect . Bast. Dismaland. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Paco Pomet. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Maskull Lassarre. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Kate MacDowell. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Jessica Harrison. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Dietrich Wegner. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Damien Hirst. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Andreas Hykade. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Amir Schiby. Dismaland Art Gallery. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Dorkas Casey. Dismaland Circus. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Banksy. Dismaland. Thank you for visiting folks. Weston-super-Mare, UK. (photo © Butterfly)


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

Read more